A White House official said an ad intended to raise awareness of opioid-induced constipation, which aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl, could help fuel the opioid addiction crisis, according to USA Today.
The ad was paid for by two pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, which are marketing a drug called Movantik to treat opioid-induced constipation. In a tweet, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough responded to the ad by saying, “Next year, how about fewer ads that fuel opioid addiction and more on access to treatment.”
When asked about the ad at a press conference, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama Administration is not proposing any new regulations on the marketing of opioids. He added that the pharmaceutical industry needs to be part of the solution.
“Obviously we’re aware of the terrible impact this has had on far too many communities across the country. And we want to make sure we can mobilize the resources to confront it,” Earnest said. “That’s also going to require working closely with medical experts, including the pharmaceutical industry, to try to get this problem under control.”
“There is a clear correlation between the dramatic rise in the prescription of opioid pain medications and the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic,” said Mario Moreno Zepeda, press secretary for Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “The pharmaceutical industry plays a key role in marketing and distributing these pain medications.”
Critics of the pharmaceutical industry have said the White House has been slow to acknowledge that overprescribing of opioids has been a major factor in prescription drug abuse, which in turn has fueled the heroin crisis, the article notes.